Dec. 29, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -South Carolina and Houston put on a record-setting offensive show for the first 30 minutes of the Liberty Bowl. The Gamecocks provided the defense when it mattered most.
Defensive end Jordin Lindsey came up with two turnovers for a defense that slowed down Houston in the second half, and South Carolina beat the Cougars 44-36 Friday for its first bowl victory under coach Steve Spurrier.
Blake Mitchell tied a bowl record by throwing four touchdown passes, Cory Boyd ran for two more TDs as the Gamecocks (8-5) finished Spurrier's second season with their best record since going 9-3 in 2001.
Houston (10-4) came in with a six-game winning streak and looking to cap its Conference USA championship season. The Cougars, who went 0-11 in 2001, had Kevin Kolb making his 50th start at quarterback and leading the nation's sixth-best offense.
Instead, the Cougars lost their seventh straight bowl game, third under coach Art Briles, and have not won a bowl since the 1980 Garden State Bowl.
Houston led 28-27 at the half, but South Carolina held the Cougars to 63 yards in the third quarter when the Gamecocks took control. They sacked Kolb three times, forced two turnovers and stopped the Cougars twice on fourth down in the fourth quarter.